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OPPO Watch 41mm Review: The Best Form of WearOS?

Is OPPO's debut smartwatch any good?

Verdict: Despite looking very similar to the Apple watch, OPPO’s debut smartwatch is one of the better-looking ones out there. The two-button and touchscreen interface makes it easy to use, and its display is one of the brightest out there. However, WearOS’ notorious RAM management and battery life still needs a lot of improvement despite OPPO’s ColorOS tweaks making the whole WearOS experience better. Despite all that it’s one of the better smartwatch options you can get in the market today.

 

While Android brands have been whipping out smartwatches left and right to go against the Apple Watch, only a handful make use of Google’s WearOS platform. OPPO is one of those brands that stand by the niche wearable platform, with the company trying their damndest to work out the kinks associated with Google’s less than perfect wearable ecosystem to create a compelling offering. They’ve pretty much done that with their OPPO Watch, offering solid features for what you pay for and is easily one of the best Wear OS options in the market today.

 Pros: 

-Modern and minimalist design 

-The dual-boot system caters to user’s different needs 

Cons: 

-Battery life (on WearOS mode) is terrible 

WearOS still has a lot of catching up to do vs Tizen and WatchOS

 

Design 

Without any question, the OPPO Watch 41mm drew a lot of inspiration from the Apple Watch, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You get a square 1.6-inch AMOLED display with a curved Gorilla Glass protecting it against the world, as well as a 320 x 360 resolution display that gives it a 326ppi count, making it one of the sharpest displays on a smartwatch. 

Despite its resemblance to Apple’s offering, the OPPO Watch 41mm still looks unique with its two-button layout (as opposed to the Apple Watch’s rotating crown). The upper button lets you access WearOS apps installed on the Watch, while the lower button (which has a trademark OPPO green accent) is a programmable, multifunction button. A long press on the lower button lets you turn off, restart, or switch to Power Saver mode.  

The left side of the OPPO Watch 41mm contains a loudspeaker and microphone, both of which are used for Google Assistant and answering calls if the Watch is synced to your phone. The loudspeaker is also utilized to guide you with the OPPO Watch’s built-in 5-minute exercise routines. 

As a premium smartwatch, the OPPO Watch 41mm makes use of glossy 6000-series aluminum, giving it a good amount of heft. The backplate houses the OPPO Watch 41mm’s array of sensors and POGO pins for charging. There are also two buttons to be found here, which detach the strap in case you plan on changing to different straps. The OPPO Watch 41mm is waterproof for up to 50m, so you can use it for tracking your swimming workouts.

Interface 

Just like with its smartphones, OPPO makes use of ColorOS elements that are evident with the icon styles and the app drawer layout when you press the upper button. Just like any WearOS device, it comes with Play Store for installing additional apps and watch faces. Because of the niche nature of WearOS, you have a limited number of apps to choose from.  

For my use, I’ve installed Spotify, Google Keep, a calculator app, a web browser app, The Washington Post for US news, and Messenger and Viber WearOS plugins. Those apps alone are sufficient enough for me to utilize the OPPO Watch 41mm as a microcomputer of sorts. I’ve seen other unique apps like a document reader, a few games, and several fitness tracking apps, though some of them require you to purchase them off Play Store. 

As for the default apps, I found the 5-minute exercises and breathing apps useful. The former gives you five different exercise routines depending on your needs, and trust me: those quick, 5-minute workouts are just enough for people like me who defines exercise as walking the dogs every afternoon. 

If you want to conserve battery life, the OPPO Watch 41mm’s Power Saver mode gives you the basics: time, date, step counter, heart rate measurement, and receiving notifications. It is not as fancy as what WearOS has to offer, but it should suit the needs of most users.  

Battery and hardware 

As we mentioned in an earlier article, the global version of the OPPO Watch 41mm uses a better Snapdragon wear 3100 processor (as opposed to Snapdragon Wear 2500 on the China version), paired with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage and a 300mAh battery. For power-saving mode, the OPPO Watch uses an Apollo 3 co-processor. For connectivity, you have Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, and NFC.

WearOS is notorious for bad RAM management and equally bad battery life, and the same applies to the OPPO Watch 41mm. While 1GB RAM is more than what most smartwatches have to offer, the OPPO Watch 41mm has difficulties in loading some apps. In my case, there were times that Spotify failed to load the album artwork (until I restarted the watch), and the web browser app ended up freezing when I tried to access some sites.  

Some apps like the Messenger WearOS plug-in, Washington Post, and Google Keep performed well on the OPPO Watch 41mm, so my take is that some apps are not yet fully optimized on the WearOS platform. The OPPO Watch currently uses version 2.19 of WearOS, and we expect Google to release a more optimized version in the near future.  

It is the same story when it comes to battery life. While OPPO claims 24 hours of battery life on the OPPO Watch 41mm, I was only able to use it for around 16 hours, which makes WearOS tough to recommend if you’re a frequent traveller (at least when travelling becomes a thing again). The battery and display size may play a factor here, but I do think Google can still improve on this through refining WearOS in future iterations.  

To remedy the terrible battery life, the OPPO Watch 41mm has a Power Saver mode that utilizes the Apollo 3 co-processor. This mode stretches the battery life to as much as 14 days but limits you to basics like timekeeping, step counter, heart rate tracking, and notifications.

With the supplied charging dock, it takes around an hour to top up the OPPO Watch 41mm from flat to 100%. That being said, I strongly advise charging it first before you head out—once it is safe to do so. 

The OPPO Watch 41mm is priced at Php 12,990 and is available in all OPPO concept stores, online stores, and Lazada. 

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